Guests woke before first light, eager to see what the sun revealed as they prepped their bags and enjoyed the early riser breakfast. For those inclined, Belinda ran a morning stretch class below slowly fading stars as the sun increased its grip on the day. The Zodiac ride to Talbot Creek (donned Cyclone Creek by a vestigial pearl farming operation) was dark, bumpy, and wet as we made our way east into a prevailing headwind. Those who braved the conditions had no regrets as the first rays hit the buckled sandstone and rewarded visitors with spectacular colours and lighting for photography. The sound of honeyeaters and whistlers filled the landscape as we navigated our way through the raging tide and farther into the McClarty Range. We spotted short-eared rock wallabies skipping over nearly vertical cliff faces with apparent ease. The unique geology was the primary talking point, and a special feature included a Kimberley Rose guarded by a resting white-bellied sea eagle. The juvenile raptor was happy to pose for the clicking camera shutters as the Zodiacs crept ever closer. After our return to ship and a spot of tea and coffee, guests boarded the Horizontal Waterfall Adventure Company’s vessel and were whisked away to the thrilling Horizontal Waterfalls. The ride got our adrenaline pumping as we skimmed across the white water that is forced between a small cap in the Pentecost sandstone. Following lunch, guests enjoyed a lecture from the expedition staff before treating their palate at a wine tasting. The day was rounded off with cocktails, canapés, and recaps at sunset before we transitioned to dinner in the restaurant. It was another great day enjoyed by all.
National Geographic Orion
Gidday and welcome to a unique part of the world, the west coast of Australia. After leaving Perth, National Geographic Orion set a course towards a remote set of islands on the offshore of Australia called the Rowley Shoals. Sunrise was a welcome phenomenon as we made our way towards our destination. We progressed through our normal routine of introducing the expedition staff to guests, in addition to Zodiac and snorkel briefings. Snorkel gear was distributed, and guests buzzed with anticipation as they prepared for the adventure ahead. After lunch, Zodiacs full of guests were sent off into the lagoon of the Australian atoll along Mermaid Reef. The water was chilly, but the environment was epic with vibrant corals, numerous species of fish, and calming sunshine. As a Polynesian person, I could have sworn I was in French Polynesia or the Cook Islands…but then I’m biased. All in all, it was a great first day for our happy guests that was topped off with a joyous Captain’s Welcome cocktail party hosted by Captain Alex. Cheers!